Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Microsoft to announce some major Search Initiatives

With Microsoft recently issuing a statement, on Yahoo deal "...that it is continuing to explore and pursue its alternatives to improve and expand its online services and advertising business.  Microsoft is considering and has raised with Yahoo! an alternative that would involve a transaction with Yahoo! but not an acquisition of all of Yahoo! ...".

What that means ? Does it mean Microsoft interested only in search ad business from Yahoo! ? One has to wait and see. Meanwhile, Kevin Johnson , President, Platforms & Services Division has sent a letter updating his team on an updated online and advertising strategy about which will be announced on 21 May at its advance08 advertising conference in Redmond (May19-21, 2008). This letter to his team is published by CNET News , some excerpts :

On Wednesday, we will be announcing a major new initiative that our search teams have been driving. We are getting better and better with our core algorithmic search, and at the same time, we are investing to differentiate in vertical experiences and to disrupt the current model. You'll hear more about our plans Wednesday.

advance08 will underscore our commitment to search and online advertising, and you'll continue to see announcements demonstrating our progress in this space. Earlier this week, I spoke to leaders across our online services business about our core strategy, the importance of acceleration and a set of actions we are taking, including:

1. Innovate and disrupt in search -- We will disclose some elements of our plans with this week's release of search and sharpen our focus on user experience and business model innovation. The work we have done over the last 4 years on search has established a solid foundation to build upon.

2. Win targeted distribution -- With this release of search, we are now ready to throttle up broader distribution initiatives.

3. Reinvent portal and deliver new experiences across PC, phone and web -- We are building our new releases of Windows 7, Windows Live wave 3, Windows Mobile 7, Internet Explorer 8, Search and MSN with an eye towards optimizing and unifying experiences and scenarios.

4. Fix our online branding -- Our brands are fragmented and confusing today, and we recognize a need to clarify and align our online branding. We are now driving forward to address this opportunity.

5. Win in display advertising -- We have an advantage in tools, agency assets/relationships and a team laser-focused on capturing the display ad platform opportunity. As we build from a position of strength, we will increase engineering resources to drive even more innovation.

6. Build on our strengths in Europe -- As measured by comScore in March, our online business in Europe is doing well. We have over 3 times the page view volume and nearly 7 times the minutes of usage compared to Yahoo!, and 68% reach to internet users throughout Europe. We will double down on our investments in Europe and expand on this strong position.

7. Expand strategic partnerships – In addition to our organic innovation agenda, we will expand strategic partnerships that increase inventory on our display ad platform, enable new paradigms in search and accelerate growth in key geographies.

8. Pursue small, targeted acquisitions – Looking forward, we will focus on small, targeted acquisitions that support our work in search, complement our value in the ad platform and help us grow scale in key geographies. Recent acquisitions including Rapt and YaData are examples of these types of acquisitions.

Yes some of these initiatives such as Fixing online branding is a welcome move as many of us users have been requesting about it.

Similarly a 'Next-Generation Search Experience' was also demonstrated at Microsoft CEO Summit 2008, recently where Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President, Office Business Platform for Microsoft, demonstrated new enterprise search technology. Watch the demo video here .wmv file (4.6 MB) | .mpg file (46 MB). Also point to note that Microsoft completed the acquisition of FAST, a leader in Enterprise search  recently.

So its going to be exciting to hear about these announcements tomorrow. Watch this space.

(Source :Kevin Johnson's letter on Microsoft's updated online strategy )

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